That's not how it was supposed to go.
I was going to confess.
Danny doesn't deserve to go to prison.
The court is in uproar. From somewhere amidst the camera flashes and the jury's questions and Lizzie's screams as she scrambles for her brother while the judge orders him to be placed under arrest for the murder of his father, I realize that I am not going to prison for life. Lewis is grasping at his hair and grinning from ear to ear. He just won his case.
And I am speechless on the stand, staring across the courtroom at Nick. He smiles and I feel my entire body start to float off the ground. Kind of like a bird.
"Settle down everyone," calls the judge. "Settle down!" He bangs his gavel on the block. "Miss Knight is still guilty."
I swallow and an officer walks me back to my place beside Lewis to face the judge. The courtroom is hushed but you can still hear Lizzie crying out in the corridor. Danny is gone.
"Jessica Knight, the State finds you guilty of plotting a murder," says the judge.
I nod. Fair enough.
"However, because it was blackmail and the blackmail came from a party far guiltier than you of any crime, I am releasing the charge."
There are a couple of cheers from the crowd and murmurs of exasperation. I have no idea who they come from.
"The State also finds you guilty of withholding information from the police regarding crimes from both the Maryland Mafia and Alonzo Garcia. Again, given the nature of these crimes, it is safe to say you were blackmailed to keep information a secret. However, this is a free country and the police are there to protect you. I am giving you a suspended sentence of twelve months where you will be supervised by a probation officer, live with a curfew and join fellow juveniles in Community Payback. This is you getting off very lightly, Miss Knight. Do not forget that."
The judge's eyes flash with some kind of hidden meaning and I know, without a doubt, that this man is a friendly face. I just can't figure it out. But I don't care. Someone is seriously watching over me.
"Court is dismissed." He winks at me and taps his gavel again and the sound echoes in my ears. My mouth drops open. Twelve months. I can't believe it.
Everyone clears out of the courtroom at a leisurely pace. I feel as if I'm missing something, as if there was some sort of payout and I'm not being given a proper sentence. After all that, I expected either the death sentence or prison for life. Not only am I not going to prison at all but by this time next year I will be completely free.
Someone taps me on the shoulder and I turn around.
Nick stands on the other side of the wooden barrier. There's a look in his eyes that reminds me of the night we spent at the party. Our first date. It's as if everything is new and fresh again.
"Congratulations," he says. "You're not going to prison."
He reaches out and takes both my hands. I don't care that the reporters are still trying to take pictures of me or that Kayla and Maria are right next to him, smiling in anticipation, or that the officers want to take me away again to run through my sentence. I only care that finally, this is over. And I didn't have to rat anyone out. Sure, Danny is going to prison for the murder of his father and Lizzie is alone in the world and won't ever speak to me again and I have no idea of the fate of my fellow bikers, but ... things are looking up.
Maybe there's a God, after all.
"Is there some way to sum up how sorry I am for what I've put you through?" I ask. "Like maybe ... lunch somewhere?"
He chuckles. "Can you afford that?"
"Hey," I snap. "It's the thought that counts."
He leans forward and kisses me. It's a kiss that takes my breath away and makes me tingle all over. I am so happy that tears fall down my cheeks. I'm free and I'm forgiven, and I can now start my life again with the perfect man at my side.
How the fuck did I get so lucky?
YOU ARE READING
Free as a JailbirdGeneral Fiction
Jess Knight likes her freedom. Despite being in jail for about sixty-five percent of her teenage life, she is in complete control. But there's only one problem: she doesn't know her purpose. One day, everything changes. Her reputation as the younges...